Virtual ND series explores communicating across cultures
Published: August 19, 2020 / Author: Carol Elliott
A new fall online series offered by the University of Notre Dame Alumni Association is aimed at helping participants develop communication skills critical to enhancing cultural awareness, knowledge and practical skills in the increasingly diverse contemporary workplace.
Communicating Across Cultures explores the concepts underlying effective communications that strike deeply into the core of our very identities — customs, ethnicities and a wide range of other factors that help to explain why we behave the way we do.
The series is offered as part of ThinkND, a Notre Dame Alumni Association initiative designed to help Notre Dame alumni and friends easily access free, online learning opportunities from across the University. It is co-sponsored by the Mendoza College of Business, the Eugene D. Fanning Center for Business Communication at Mendoza, Notre Dame International and the Keough School’s McKenna Center for Human Development and Global Business.
“From dealing with the effects of a global pandemic to having long overdue discussions for racial justice, the need for clear communication and understanding in professional and personal settings may never be greater than it is right now,” said Dolly Duffy ’84, executive director of the Notre Dame Alumni Association. “These discussions will provide the Notre Dame family with perspectives and insights from various industries to build their own strong workplace and community cultures.”
The four-week program features two components: brief, pre-recorded video presentations by noted business communication expert James O’Rourke IV, management teaching professor at the Mendoza College of Business, as well as live, online discussions with chief communications officers from top companies including Sirius XM, AT&T, Southwest Airlines and BioMarin.
“Our notion of culture can take on a wide range of meanings,” O’Rourke said. “It can refer to our possessions or surroundings, our values and beliefs, as well as our behavior.” The role of culture in our organizations, our society and communities has taken on new meaning and importance. “As a result,” he added, “we conclude that now is the moment to expand the conversation. Our aim is to share what we know, both as academics and as corporate executives, and to ask what’s on your minds.”
The video segments cover 14 topic areas including understanding culture, global communication skills, and cultural fluency. The online discussions are guided by O’Rourke and Amanda G. McKendree, Arthur F. and Mary J. O’Neil Director of the Fanning Center for Business Communication at Mendoza College of Business.
“Recognized as a leader in business communication education and training, the Fanning Center is delighted to contribute to this series by connecting our expertise with the important work that these leaders do in creating and communicating culture,” McKendree said. “Each guest brings a unique case study and lens for examining significant questions that are relevant to each of us and our organizations.”
The discussions take place at 12 p.m. EDT on the following Fridays:
- Sept. 4: Denise Karkos, senior vice president and chief communications officer for Sirius XM.
- Sept. 18: Chris Murphy, vice president and deputy chief communications officer for AT&T.
- Oct. 2: Linda Rutherford, senior vice president and chief communications officer for Southwest Airlines.
- Oct. 16: Debra Charlesworth, vice president and chief communications officer for BioMarin.
The videos and discussion events are free and available to the public.
Visit ThinkND: Communicating Across Cultures to register for the series and for more information.